Because I Could Not Stop For Death Analysis

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Death is a very controversial and versatile topic in both our real world and in literature. Writers and poets are able to express their opinions on the idea of death and consequently sway the reader’s outlooks as well. The poems “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”, written by Robert Frost, and “Because I Could not Stop for Death”, by Emily Dickinson, are both great examples of two distinct attitudes towards death and how that attitude is carried out throughout each of these pieces of literature. The first poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”, centers around the idea that life’s responsibilities keep us away from the comfort and serenity of death. Whereas Dickinson's poem, “Because I Could not Stop for Death”, expresses the notion …show more content…
First of all, Frost’s poem revolves around the theme of responsibility and the decision between life and death. As the narrator walks through “woods”, he becomes so mesmerized by its beauty that he contemplates taking a break and nap; in other words, die. However, he finds that life and its responsibilities are what changed his mind and drove him forward. On the contrary, Dickinson’s poem talks about death and the afterlife. The narrator is suavely picked up by a man and his carriage who takes her on a journey towards the afterlife, passing by and leaving behind the life she once knew. This poem presents a unique perception of death where the narrator embraces it, although she did not necessarily want to die. On the other hand, Frost’s poem portrays death as something serene and captivating; something that the narrator looks forward to in the midst of life’s commotion. Moreover, the interaction between the speaker and the man of death in Dickinson’s poem is a very accepting and affectionate one where the narrator even puts away her leisure and work for death and “His Civility”. In Frost’s poem, however, the relationship between the speaker and death is one of longing and desire, but the speaker decides to momentarily reject it and keep going with his life. These two contradictory ideas are presented in such a way that opens …show more content…
These symbols could be used to unveil the hidden meaning present in each of the poems. For example, the prominent symbol in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is the woods - representing death. The poet chose to express the woods as something “lovely, dark, and deep”, thus directly reflecting on the idea of the serenity, beauty, and mysteriousness of death. Additionally, the narrator’s horse is seen to give “his harness bells a shake - To ask if there's some mistake” as the narrator unexpectedly stopped in his tracks. Through these two lines we can deduce that the horse symbolizes wisdom; it senses that something is “queer” and reminds the narrator of life and its responsibilities, causing him to discard his initial decision of killing himself. Nevertheless, as opposed to the the dark and luring woods, death is represented as a kind and chivalrous man in Dickinson’s poem. In the speaker’s words, this man “kindly stopped for” her and gave her a ride in his carriage towards the afterlife. What’s more, the speaker readily set her labor and leisure aside for this man and “His Civility”. Throughout this ride, the speaker passes a school, “Fields of Gazing Grain”, and the “Setting Sun”. These sites represent the memories of the speaker’s life, each standing for her childhood, adulthood, and old age/death, respectively. The passing of these

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